Tarangire National Park is an easy two hour drive southwest of Arusha, the capital of Tanzania. It sits on the traditional migration route for several wildlife species. It’s not as well known as some of the parks in Tanzania but it makes for a good stop while traveling through the northern circuit on the way to Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. The dry season from June to September has the largest concentration of animals, second only to the Serengeti. Our visit was during December, but we were not disappointed in the amount of wildlife we were able to view.
Tarangire offers panoramas of savannah grasslands with the dominating feature of the Tarangire river at its valley bottom. During the year there are distinct seasons that offer different conditions in the park. The dry season from June to September it is dry and hot. This is when you will find the animals gathered around the river as the water supplies are reducing in the heat. January and February are usually dry months as well. In the green season the park is full of new born animals and hundreds of bird species. The short rains are in November and December and the heavy rains known as the long rains fall from March to May.
Tarangire park is best known for it’s Baobob trees and elephants. Nothing is more representative of Africa than the magnificent and giant Baobobs. Some of the trunks are over twenty feet in diameter, they can be as old as five hundred years. Tarangire boasts some of the highest elephant population densities in all of Tanzania. We saw dozens of them at a time. It’s not uncommon to see a herd in the hundreds. We learned from our guide that they are either right or left tusked, just as humans are with our hands. You can see which tusk they use most often from the wear.
We spotted two female Ostrich. Ali our guide was quick to start counting their babies. Together they had a total of 42 of them. They said it was rare to see so many. The skin of the male ostrich’s head, neck and legs will turn pink when it is mating time. He has black feathers and the female has brown. She sits on the eggs in the day because she blends into the ground and the male sits on them at night.